Tuesday, August 7, 2012
There was an accident last night at the 2,900 acre Chevron Refinery in Richmond, California. I work in this area, and have worked there since 1992. Before I began working with the babies I worked with home-bound adults. It is not by coincidence that there are very high incidences of COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), Asthma, and cancer in this area. The refinery spews out its smoke 24/7. The area closest to it is North Richmond, a very low-income area, then within spitting distance are Richmond, San Pablo, Rodeo, Pinole, Hercules, El Cerrito, and Albany (where I live.) Last night, when the fire began, the warning siren did not go off immediately, but residents could see and smell the toxic cloud of smoke. Last night alone 680 people went to the emergency room for respiratory related problems. I myself awoke feeling light headed (no comments please). The babies I was supposed to see today had left the area, their parents called me to inform me. Rightly they were concerned about their childrens' already compromised health, and they are lucky to have family further away. What outrages me is that of course the fire has been downplayed, even though it is still going on as I write.The public is NOT correctly informed as to the amount of toxins and the dangers. Even the Contra Costa Times only had a small article on the fire. The people who live in this area are not dispensable; they are human beings and my outrage is that they are not treated with the respect they deserve.